This special anniversary edition of the annual music festival that takes over Austin like an especially virulent strain of kudzu every March promises to be bigger, better, louder, and fatter than any seen previously. The band list is sick, the schedule frenetic, and the day parties are absolutely bat-shit crazy.
After missing out on the madness the last two years in a row, I'm heading to Austin tomorrow to take part in the 20th version of SXSW. The scale of this year's gathering predictably brings to mind memories of past years, but I won't delve too deeply into that now. Suffice to say that, back somewhere around 96 or so I considered myself lucky as hell to see the Poster Children, Archers of Loaf, and Red Red Meat in the same place in the same weekend. Things certainly have changed.
This year, for the first time in many visits, I'll be making the rounds purely for pleasure. While the lack of deadlines and the total freedom are no doubt appealing, I'll certainly miss the benefits of the badge. Getting into the big shows with a wristband has been getting progressively more difficult, and now I have a feeling it's damn near impossible. Like you can just show up a half hour early and get in to see Art Brut or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or We Are Wolves--or, hell, The Flaming Lips or WHY? for that matter. I'm a bit worried, but with every act popping up at least 2 or three times around town during the week, there's got to be some way to see these folks. I'll be trying, that's for sure.
I also hope to blog the whole while, but we'll see how much time and energy I end up with. After all, outside the clock-filling music schedule (seriously, day parties all day every day, showcases every night from 7 to 2am, then late-night parties every night until dawn), there's lots of mountain biking and eating to do, too. One week just isn't enough.
Wish me luck!